- Full name Justin Matthew Turner
- Born 11/23/1984 in Long Beach, CA
- Profile Ht.: 5'11" / Wt.: 202 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Cal State Fullerton
- Debut 09/08/2009
Drafted in the 7th round (204th overall) by the Cincinnati Reds in 2006 (signed for $50,000).
View Draft ReportMany college baseball fans remember him from the 2003 College World Series, when as a freshman he was hit in the face while squaring to bunt on a pitch against Stanford. Turner also turned his ankle on the play and missed Team USA's college national trials after doctors determined that he broke a bone in his ankle on the play. He recovered to have a steady, gritty career and saved his best for last, posting career highs in batting (.352), slugging (.500) and stolen bases (18) as a senior--after declining to sign with the Yankees as a 29th-round pick last year. One scout compared Turner favorably with Red Sox prospect Dustin Pedroia, an All-American at Arizona State and a 2004 second-round pick. Like Pedroia, Turner makes all the plays defensively (even at short) thanks to superior footwork and profiles as an above-average defender on the right side of the infield thanks to his fringy arm. He's an average runner with excellent instincts.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Part of December's Ramon Hernandez trade with the Reds, Turner played with Blake Davis on Cal State Fullerton's 2004 national championship team and could team with him again to form the double-play combination in Norfolk this year. Turner is a baseball rat who has a feel for the game and a competitive drive that ensures he gets the most out of his limited tools. He has a line-drive swing with gap power that has allowed him to hit .310 with a .377 on-base percentage during his minor league career. But there are some concerns as to how well his swing will play in the big leagues. His stroke could be more direct to the plate, and he employs an inside-out approach instead of using the entire field. Turner is a solid second baseman with excellent instincts that make up for his adequate range. He's a tick below-average runner. He'll never be a star, and his lack of arm strength may make it tough for him to fill a utility role in the big leagues, but his ability to hit for average and get on base will get him there.
Like Chris Valaika and former Cal State Fullerton teammate Danny Dorn, Turner is a pure baseball player with outstanding instincts, a love of the game and an ability to turn every ounce of his potential into production. Turner's father John was a childhood friend of former Titans assistant coach Rick Vanderhook and Justin served as a Fullerton batboy, so there was no question as to where he would go to school. Turner helped Fullerton reach three College World Series and win the 2004 national title, and former coach George Horton compared him to Titans great Mark Kotsay for his leadership and baseball savvy. A relatively inexpensive senior sign for $50,000, Turner quickly has established himself with his solid bat and above-average defense. He's an average runner but knows how to take an extra base. Turner turns the double play well and his range is good enough to fill in at shortstop, though his fringy arm plays much better at second. He likely never will hit for much power, but his ability to produce for average while doing all of the little things gives him a chance to make it to the big leagues as a second baseman or utilityman.